Mentor Breast International Summit
I attended the Mentor Breast International Summit in Windsor in December 2011. With delegates attending from Europe, Africa and Asia, there was lively discussion on international variations and pathways of care for breast reconstruction.
The access to breast services varied amongst different countries. Those with active screening programmes saw earlier presentation of disease. Mastectomy rates varied considerably as did immediate reconstruction rates. Rates of immediate mastectomies varied with a consensus that an international rate of 50% mastectomy and 50% breast conservation was ideal in the treatment of breast cancer.
Globally it was accepted that the public perception of breast reconstruction was poor and that raised awareness was required to educate the public to the different types of breast reconstruction available. Recent publicity around the PIP implants will not have helped either. The overall feeling from the event - from all nations - was that there should be more information available to the public and also for patients before and after breast screening and after diagnosis. It was felt that this information should be different for each group and that an international collaboration was important in improving understanding and patient care.
From the UK perspective we are a world leader in terms of data collection on breast reconstruction techniques and outcomes. This puts us in a strong position to help lead the way in building greater awareness about the availability of different reconstructive techniques for immediate mastectomy. We should also be encouraging plastic surgeons and breast surgeons to collaborate further to help provide integrated support to patients allowing for an informed decision making process.
Chair, BAPRAS Breast Special Interest Group
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